Written by Erin Wright
I just love using painty, inky, messy borders and edges. They can take a photo, or a layout for that matter, from ordinary to extraordinary. And they are so versatile and fun to play with.
Charla has created some awesome new inky borders and I want to share with you a few ways you can use them to spice up your photos or layouts. I am using Photoshop CS6, and as in all things digi related, there is always more than one way to get these effects, but this is what I tend to do.
The first thing I do is get my photo the way I want it by cropping, running actions, or adjusting the brightness and contrast. You want to take care of all of those artistic details before you start playing with the border so you can see exactly how the border will interact with the finished photo. Once you have your photo all taken care of, you are ready to bring in the border.
Now the easiest way to use an inky border is simply as is. Usually borders come in either black or dark brown. Using the borders like this will give your photo the look of having paint or ink brushed or spilled along the edge. To do this you open the border you want to use and simply drag it in over your photo. Adjust it to get it lined up with the photo and you should get something like this.
This is a photo that I turned black and white using the March Madness Lightroom Presets. Simply dragging the border on top of this photo works well because it adds to the vintage feel of the photo and does not distract from what is already going on.
Now if I want to create a slight different feel, I can play with blending modes. If you are using Photoshop you can access your blending mode options by double clicking on the icon of your border (or other element) in the layers panel. Under Blending Options>General Blending there is a drop down menu with lots of options. Play around with them and get familiar with what each ones does. When working with photos, my favorite options are usually multiply, linear burn, color burn, linear dodge, overlay, soft light, linear light, and occasionally some of the others, depending on what effect I am going for.
When working with a black and white photo, you will not get much of a difference playing with modes if your border is black. In fact, many of the blending modes will not seem work at all. The overlay mode will give you a very subtle tinting, which can be effective if combined with a darker border like this.
Another way to use borders with your black and white images is to change the color of the border itself from black to white. You do this in the Image drop down menu at the top of your window. Go Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation. This should give you a pop up menu with lots of choices. On the lightness bar, drag it all the way over to white and hit OK. This should change your border to white. This creates a different but equally effective look for your photo. You can play with blending modes again now that your border is white, but again, there will not be too much variation. Combining the white border with a second border left black will give you a different feel.
Another thing you can do with a black and white photo is to turn the border a different color. For this one I chose blue. (if you already know how to change the color feel free to skip to the next paragraph) To change the color of my border I opened my border in a separate window in Photoshop. Then I created a new layer using the Layer menu at the top of the window. I then chose the paint bucket tool and changed my foreground color to blue, then spilled the blue unto the new layer. Next I clipped this new blue layer to my border by right clicking on the name of the blue layer in my layers window and choosing create clipping mask. Finally I merged the layer down using the short cut control e. Now my border is blue ( I know that there are other ways to change the color, feel free to use whatever method you prefer, this is simply the first method I learned and I do it without even thinking about it any more).
Ok, so now my border is blue, I drag it onto my photo and play with the blending modes. Linear burn or color burn often create interesting effect when using a colored border on a black and white photo. This is particularly cool with a splattery border or overlay like the ones in the Coffee Shop Overlays pack.
Now the real fun comes when you play with a colored photo. This is a photo of my daughter that I have adjusted using Bekah Boo Photoshop Actions. I wanted to create a light playful feel for this photo, because we were having so much fun laughing and blowing bubbles. In this case I used Linear Dodge in the Blending Modes menu to lighten areas around the edge of the photo. I liked this, but I wanted to go even lighter, so I brought in a second border, changed it to white in the Hue/Saturation menu and thn changed the blending mode to overlay. Notice that the effect is doubled in the places where the two borders overlap. I love how this gives the photo a light floating feel.
Borders provide an easy way to give a photo a slightly aged feel. This is a photo that I have adjusted using the Inspired Photoshop Actions. By itself, it is lovely and colorful, but if I want to have a bit of fun I can add some inky borders. I used a border that had some drips, turned it white and used the overlay blend mode. This gives the photo the look that it got a little wet at some time. It adds interest without distracting from the natural beauty of the flower itself. You can get a similar effect by leaving the border black, it just has more of dark feel. Both methods add some age to the photo.
Really, when working with photos you have to be willing to experiment a lot. Try different blending modes, change the color of the elements, and keep changing things until you find what feels right. Each photo is so different and the colors it contains combined with the colors you choose for your borders will affect the various blending modes differently. People often ask me how I choose what colors and modes to use. Honestly I just play around until it feels right. The main thing to keep in mind is that you want your photo to remain the focus. If your borders or overlays are the first thing you notice then they are distracting from your photo.
Last, what I love most about borders is that they can also be used directly on a Layout to create some awesome edging. I love to Art Journal and borders really help an art journal page to pop. They can do the same on a traditional layout as well.
You can use the border as paint by adding color to it to create the look of painted edges like this
Or you can clip a paper to the border like a mask and get a neat frame.
One of my favorites is to use glitter. I like sparkle on my pages, so I will often use a glitter style or clip a glitter sheet to a border to get the feel of bling around the edges like this.
So you see, these inky borders are REALLY fun and versatile and can be used in so many ways to make your photos and your Layouts really yours! I hope you have as much fun playing as I did.